Amazon Tops List Of Google Search Advertisers

Search advertising is something that can certainly pay off, as millions of users go to Google on a daily basis to find information on something they need right away. So, of course, various retailers will boost said advertising in the hopes of drawing in more consumers – and it appears that online retailer Amazon is leading the pack.

Even though the Amazon site acts as a rival for online ad dollars against Google, it’s managed to spend nearly $158 million on Google U.S. search ads last year, according to a report from Ad Age DataCenter, based on data from AdGooroo, a Kantar Media company that deals with search marketing.

Amazon engages with other sites when it comes to selling search and display ads, which makes it a competitor to Google – thus making the investment of search advertising on its rival’s page a bit more interesting. However, it’s a small price to pay, as Amazon has managed to generate $750 million from worldwide advertising revenue, a number it plans to increase this year to just over $1 billion, according to eMarketer.

The top 25 U.S. search ad buyers alone spent $1.34 billion on generating ads through the Google site alone, including the likes of Priceline Group, AT&T, Expedia and Microsoft rounding out the top five, followed by other companies like Walmart, Comcast and Best Buy, each with values ranging from $38 million to $82.3 million.

Amazon spends quite a bit in general when it comes to search advertising, investing $19.5 million in search ads and $1.2 million in ads for Microsoft’s Bing service for July 2014 alone, according to AdGooroo.

Surprisingly not high on the list, however, are retailers. While mainstays like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Sears are present, none of them get close to the top five. This is mainly due to the fact that search is the dominant digital-ad format for direct-response advertisers, such as retail brands. However, their costs for said ads is likely to double within the year, according to eMarketer.

Product-search service Google Shopping appears to be a big avenue for these retailers, according to AdGooroo CEO Rich Stokes. “Retailers are underrepresented (in the top-25-search-spenders ranking), but that makes sense because of PLA (or Product Listing Ads),” said Stokes. The company didn’t research spending in this department.

What do you think Is it a little strange that Amazon would spend money through its competitor to gain ad exposure, or is it a solid business practice

Source: AdAge

Twitter, The Game Seller’s Friend

Video game marketing has changed quite a bit over the years, as evidently proved by Activision’s promotional push behind the recently released Destiny, complete with an impressive live action trailer. Now, Twitter UK’s Samir Bhana believes that, when it comes to selling games, the social site can actually play a huge part.

Talking at the Games Retail 2020 event yesterday, Bhana explained his belief that Twitter is a site that’s driven by the events that happen in the now, and that includes appealing to consumers looking for particular game products.

80 percent of Twitter traffic comes from mobile devices, according to Bhana, as the average user unlocks their phone an estimated 110 times a day to check their statuses. As a result, over a billion moments for companies to engage with users occur every two days. That’s quite a bit.

On top of that, 61 percent of Twitter users engage in games to some degree, making it the most popular hobby across the site’s entire audience. Social networks followed in second place with a close 59 percent, and entertainment was in a somewhat distant third at 40 percent.

To demonstrate the popularity of Twitter with hot trends, Bhana then showed a video of the World Cup penalty shootout between Brazil and Chile from earlier in the year, with real-time reactions from users as the game took place.

Speaking of sports, Electronic Arts has already jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, as it will use Twitter to align its soccer brand FIFA 15 with new developments throughout the real soccer season.

No doubt other companies may show interest in such a formula, as Twitter’s wide base of followers, interests, and overall user base follow a specific style of marketing. Through its program, companies can launch “non-obtrusive ads” through promoted tweets, trends and users, allowing three ads at any one time on a user’s Twitter account. In addition, the company wants to test a “buy” card that lets users click on tweets and be taken right to a purchase screen for a product.

What do you think Can Twitter be the gateway to better game sales for certain companies

Source: MCV UK

New VR Headset Kickstarting

The virtual reality market is quickly heating up, between Facebook’s $2 billion investment in the Oculus Rift, Sony’s forthcoming Project Morpheus, and Samsung’s previously announced headset. With that, another company is attempting to jump in, looking to raise funds on Kickstarter to get things started.

That company is Vrvana, and it’s proposed a new headset called the Totem that will help immerse users in virtual worlds with a fantastic-looking headset, as seen above. The device actually features onboard cameras and acceleration tracking instead of the usual external tracking camera that these devices use, allowing for better possibilities with integration when it comes to a virtual experience. It can also track hand movement, something not all the devices above can do without assistive tools.

Instead of relying on a secondary computer unit to run programs, the Totem headset comes with powerful onboard processing and control emulation. As a result, it has an increase in compatibility, as it can be used across the board for tablets, PC’s, phones and even select game consoles.

The Totem headset also allows for comfort, with a foam-cushioned liner on the inside that allows users to see things, even if they feel the need to wear glasses. With the sharp imagery included inside, however, chances are most people won’t really need them.

The team behind Vrvana consists of several French Canadian engineers, who worked as a team in 2005 as True Player Gear. It’s been working on various VR models over the past decade, with the Totem being the end result of its research.

Vrvana’s Totem program has kicked off on Kickstarter, and thus far, over $105,000 has been raised, with a goal of $350,000 that needs to be met in just under a month. As usual, there are plenty of rewards to be reaped for those who take part, including their own Totem headset and a visit to the company’s lab, to see the tech in person.

To learn more about the Totem headset, watch the video below, and then follow this link over to the Kickstarter page. Once funded, this could definitely be a game changer in the virtual business – even with the other “big guys” at play.

Source: Kickstarter, Digital Trends

eSports Reaches Tipping Point

This year will be remembered as the year the eSports phenomenon reached a tipping point in how it is viewed by the Western world. The once niche past-time has finally secured its place in the mainstream media, with more and more brands realizing the endless opportunities it presents, both for those inside and outside the games industry.

Today, Newzoo launches a series of country reports, sizing and profiling the eSports audience in great detail for 18 countries across the globe: Sizing and Profiling eSports’ Popularity in Germany, Korea, Russia etc. More information, including a dummy version of the report, pricing and all variables available in the data component, is here:

The League of Legends world championship event, which occurred late last year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, triggered the interest of American mainstream press. Following this, the rise of the eSports phenomenon, and the press attention that it receives, has accelerated rapidly. Valve’s DOTA 2 championship in July, The International, showed that viewership, prize money and press coverage have all doubled or tripled during the past year. The acquisition of Twitch by Amazon reflects the fact that eSports sits at the epicenter of a much larger trend in digital media: facilitating the consumers desire to not only experience, but also to actively create and share content. It is not surprising that all media and advertising-related companies, are evaluating the opportunities for and . . . possible threats to their business. Newzoo’s eSports Country Reports and Data aim to support smart decision making with a deep understanding of the consumers that are ultimately driving this trend.

One year ago, an eSports event in Madison Square Garden would have been unthinkable. In three weeks from now, the holy New York entertainment ground will host an ESL One DOTA 2 event organized by Turtle Entertainment. And this week, the same company announced they will fill the 18,000 seat SAP Center in San Jose, in the centre of Silicon Valley, for the Intel Extreme Masters featuring League of Legends and StarCraft. The rise of eSports continues.

Half of eSports viewers does not play

Based on our analysis of our consumer research results from the majority of eighteen countries, a surprising insight surfaces: approximately half of all eSports viewers does not play any of the well-known eSports franchises such as DOTA 2, StarCraft, League of Legends, World of Tanks and Call of Duty. Two reasons could explain this: first of all, there is a large group of gamers that prefer playing one of the smaller competitive game titles. Secondly, gamers that have started a family suddenly lack the time to spend playing the games but still enjoy the suspense provided by watching other gamers play on the highest level.

Thus, eSports viewers aren’t so different to the millions who tune in to Premier League & World Cup matches.. despite having retired or never picked up their football boots. When you consider the majority of this audience is young males, a demographic that is hard to reach through traditional marketing, it’s easy to see why brands such as Coca-Cola, RedBull Intel and T-Mobile are investing in this space.

Below are two examples how our eSports Reports and Data can be used with a special focus on TV and digital media subscriptions.

CNN viewers are the most likely to be eSports enthusiasts

When we look at the popularity of eSports amongst viewers of US TV channels, CNN comes out on top. Of all CNN viewers in the US, an impressive 23 percent either watch or participate in eSports: 5.5 million people. MTV & Cartoon Network have the second and third highest share of viewers that are involved in eSports with 21 percent and 18 percent respectively. ESPN, who recently discarded eSports as being irrelevant, ranks fourth.

eSports enthusiasts are twice as likely to have a paid Spotify account

It is not only important for big brands to realize that they can target a mass audience through eSports, but also to understand just how valuable this audience is in terms of willingness to spend on their (digital) products.

Through our research, we can quantify the eSports audience that currently owns a subscription to a number of services. In this case we examined Spotify, Netflix & HBO subscribers in the US, UK, Germany and France. Clearly, the eSports audience is more likely to have subscriptions to all three services than the general gamer population. For example, 22 percent of them are currently have a paid Spotify subscription compared to 11 percent of all gamers, this is 46 percent vs. 34 percent for Netflix and 35 percent vs. 21 percent for HBO. This group not only consumes more digital media than any other, but they are also willing to pay for it.

More information, including a dummy version of the report, pricing and all variables available in the data component, is here:

Why eSports Will Rise On Mobile Devices

With eSports continuing to grow exponentially in the PC gaming space and more activity in the console space, mobile is the newest platform for game developers to connect with eSports fans.

Skillz is the first company to bring eSports to mobile games by allowing players to compete against each other for real money. The company has partnered with over 350 Android and iOS game studios, ranging from mobile publishers like Glu Mobile to small indie operations, and facilitates eSports competitions in hundreds of mobile games. Andrew Paradise, founder and CEO of Skillz, explains why mobile could evolve as the largest eSports platform in the world in this exclusive interview.

Andrew Paradise

How have you seen traditional eSports grow over the past few years?

The entire industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Last year the U.S. government started recognizing eSports competitors as professional athletes by granting them visas, which was really a landmark event for an industry that has been battling questions of legitimacy for years. In terms of the sport itself, we have seen prize pools balloon from basically hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands dollars, and now millions.

This year we saw the biggest eSports prize pool in history for the International DOTA 2 Championships. The $10 million payout was more than the prizes awarded at the 2014 Masters Golf Tournament and the Tour de France. Even more remarkable is that the competition was watched by more than 20 million people. With prizes and audiences of this size, I don’t think the legitimacy of eSports can be questioned or ignored anymore. We are looking at a future where multimillion dollar prizes will soon be the norm and the number of people watching and competing in eSports will exceed participation in many popular offline sports.

What opportunities does mobile open up for eSports?

Mobile is the most accessible gaming platform ever invented. The player population for mobile games is almost 2 billion people worldwide, whereas the population for traditional hardcore games is somewhere below 100 million.

The accessibility of mobile games is transforming gaming from a hardcore, niche activity into a mainstream phenomenon. In many ways, mobile is actually bringing gaming back to its roots. Video gaming started with traditional arcade machines, which were very much a part of mainstream culture. Gaming narrowed into a hardcore audience over time due to the price points of home consoles (or high end graphics cards for computers) as well as the price points of the titles, which now often exceed $50 apiece. Up until very recently, being a gamer had a very high barrier to entry.

Now with mobile, games are available at very low price points, many of them even free, and nearly everyone in the world has a device to play them. This means the potential size of eSports audiences and players will jump from millions to billions.

How have advances in smartphones and the proliferation of tablets opened up new opportunities for mobile eSports?

Technological advances and larger displays on mobile devices have given game developers even more creative flexibility in recent years. For the first time, the graphics processors of mobile devices are approaching the capabilities of traditional consoles. In fact, we’re nearing the point where your smartphone or tablet will be the most powerful device you own. Without question, the recent technological advances have evolved mobile into a legitimate gaming platform. Now, nearly everyone has a powerful gaming device in their pocket with hundreds of thousands of games to choose from. For eSports, this means that mobile will bring in a much greater variety of content with a much more larger and diverse audience.

What role do you see livestreaming, given Twitch and Youtube are on mobile devices, playing in this new mobile eSports territory?

For something to transcend from game to sport, you need a large audience. One of the factors that continually stifles the development of new offline sports is the challenge of attracting sufficient crowds to early competitions. Up until very recently, viewership has been a major problem for eSports, too. However, livestreaming through channels such as Twitch and YouTube, have created a solution, allowing eSports to rapidly build crowds around the world by overcoming the limits of geographic proximity and circumventing the need for a physical arena.

For mobile eSports, live streaming will play the same critical role that it has played in establishing the larger eSports industry, especially when it comes to building awareness and excitement around mobile eSports titles. Recognizing the giant opportunity mobile eSports presents, Twitch recently enabled mobile streaming, and we are already seeing users amass giant followings by streaming games like Clash of Clans. This is a trend we fully expect to continue as eSports become more and more popular.

What’s going to be key in creating games for the mobile audience?

Historically, game developers have been forced to build content that caters to existing monetization tools. For example, turn-based games have evolved as developers identified an opportunity to show ads during natural game breaks. As another example, resource gathering games have evolved as a means of driving in-app purchases, which is something they do very effectively. However, the consumer expectation that games will be free to download on mobile has largely enslaved mobile developers, rendering them beholden to monetization tools like advertising which disrupt the gaming experience.

With mobile eSports tournaments rapidly gaining popularity, developers are free to focus on gameplay rather than monetization. Competitive eSports are an incredibly effective way to monetize mobile games, but competition is also intrinsic to gaming itself. This means there is no longer a conflict between content that monetizes and content that is fun.

The key to the future on mobile will be effectively leveraging this new creative freedom to invent game mechanics and core loops that haven’t been done before. There are many things that mobile devices can do that PCs and consoles cannot, and developers who are best able to take advantage of these differences are the ones who will be most successful.

How will publishers be able to compete with huge games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 in the never-ending eSports season structure?

While games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 have become huge eSports titles, they are dwarfed in size by many of today’s popular mobile games. Last month, DOTA 2 had 9.5 million active users. Compare that to Angry Birds which had 200 million or more, and it becomes very easy to see how disruptive mobile can be to the traditional eSports hierarchy.

With the ability of many new phones and tablets to stream to big screen HD and even 4K TVs, what role do you see PC screens playing in how people watch mobile eSports?

Mobile eSports will be huge with or without live events, so video quality was never going to stop the rise of mobile eSports. However, with HD streaming capabilities, the final piece of the puzzle is now in place as there are no longer any limits to the size or scale of events that can bring eSports fans together.

What kind of live venue opportunities are there for mobile, or does mobile even need this?

Live opportunities for mobile will largely be similar to what we are already seeing with traditional eSports. There is no reason to believe that mobile will follow a different pattern or path. At the end of the day, video gaming is video gaming. Whether it’s hardcore content or casual content, people are interested in seeing how the best of the best perform. For mobile games, people will do that both by watching online and by attending live events both large and small.

One key differentiator for mobile eSports is accessibility. Because phones and tablets are highly portable, mobile eSports events can happen anytime, anywhere. While there will certainly be mobile eSports events in sold-out stadiums, there will also be events at local bars and on college campuses across the world. Some of these events will be scheduled and others will happen organically on an ad hoc basis. This accessibility is part of the reason we believe that mobile is going to be the platform that lifts eSports to unprecedented levels of popularity.

How does the mobile eSports audience differ from the core gamers who watch PC and console eSports competitions?

The audience for mobile eSports is much broader than the audience for PC and console because the player base for mobile games is so much bigger and more diverse. This audience includes core gamers who are playing games like Hearthstone as well as people playing more casual games like Angry Birds. And this is why mobile eSports are so exciting for the industry. Mobile brings a variety of competitive content to the table, and varied content will be critical in ensuring eSports mainstream success.

What opportunities are there for the mainstream sponsors that have gravitated to traditional eSports in recent years?

Existing sponsors only stand to benefit from the rise of mobile eSports, as the massive influx of players and viewers will bring greater exposure to their brands. The new opportunity is for sponsors who have previously remained on the sidelines because, prior to mobile, eSports hadn’t connected with their key demographics. Mobile is changing that by bringing in a hugely diverse audience whose demographic is attractive to a much wider range of sponsors. Whereas traditional eSports have been largely male dominated, on the skillz platform, we have competitive titles where almost all of the best players are women. With this in mind, it’s easy to envision a future where traditional eSports sponsors like Red Bull and Coca Cola are joined by mainstream brands like Johnson & Johnson and Dove.

DoubleVerify Taps Veenome To Help Advertisers Avoid Unsafe Videos

By Sahil Patel

DoubleVerify, a provider of ad verification services, is integrating technology from Veenome to make it easier for advertisers to steer clear of unsafe or irrelevant video content.

Veenome analyzes websites and pages to determine if content on that page is brand safe and categorically relevant. The tech also provides information on a number of other attributes important to video advertisers, including the size of the video player, if the video auto-plays and/or is muted, and the nature of the content and language surrounding the player.

These capabilities will now be available to customers of DoubleVerify’s DV Video+ product, which launched earlier this month to help marketers combat fraud. DV Video+ offers a suite of tools for viewability measurement, engagement measurement, and ad blocking.

With the Veenome integration, DV Video+ customers will be able to learn which categories of content to avoid for a particular advertiser or campaign, in addition to the other data Veenome provides.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

A Peek At Marketers’ Social Media Strategies

It seems by and large marketers agree that social media marketing is important and an even larger number, 97 percent, are using it. But how A new infographic from AdWeek compiles survey data from 2,800 marketers from companies of all sizes and 160 of which are from companies with revenue of $1 billion or more.

Take a look below to see what marketers’ biggest questions and priorities are and what types of content they are creating and where they are dispensing them.

Source: AdWeek


Best Cinematic Trailers For The Week

This past week brought a number of new trailers to the forefront, including upcoming films and video games that will no doubt catch a few eyes this holiday season. Here’s a round-up of some of the best from the past week.

Brad Pitt’s latest movie, Fury, has quite the dramatic edge to it. It takes place during World War II, and puts Pitt into the shoes of a Sherman tank commander named Wardaddy, who’s tasked with keeping his team in one piece while hunting down Nazis in Germany. The film, the latest from Sabotage and End of Watch writer David Ayer, will debut on movie screens this October.

Taking a completely different turn from the events above, Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video has its own story to tell, looking back on the forgotten art of music videos. First popularized by MTV in the 80’s (and then later abandoned in favor of reality TV programming), music videos were the premiere form for artists to reach out to their fans. Their creativity is also noteworthy, something the movie will explore when it releases later this year.

In Ubisoft’s latest trailer for Assassin’s Creed Unity, multiplayer takes a huge emphasis, as players can team up with one another to complete heists, assassinations and other missions, all for the sake of turning the tide during the French Revolution. With its unprecedented features and stirring visuals, Unity should certainly shake things up when it releases on November 11 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Kickbeat: Special Edition isn’t your usual music/rhythm game. Instead of strumming a guitar or playing some form of musical instrument, you instead play a martial arts master who beats down thugs while playing along with a song. This unique blend of action and music makes for a unique experience, one that’s available this week on Wii U and PlayStation 4, and coming soon to the Xbox One.

With Grand Theft Auto V set to launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on November 18 and PC in early 2015, Rockstar Games is really going all out to further establish the story that hooked millions of gamers last year. Featuring an interesting array of characters and some over-the-top action scenarios, A Picket Fence and a Dog Named Skip trailer is well worth seeing.

Source: YouTube


‘Super Smash Bros.’ Sells Big For Nintendo

There’s no question that Nintendo has been struggling a bit as of late. Even with the sales numbers from its summer release Mario Kart 8 gaining ground, the company’s been losing grasp on its audience with the Wii U, especially with the recent news that such big third-party games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Assassin’s Creed: Rogue wouldn’t be released for the console.

However, Super Smash Bros. could easily turn that around this holiday season. The game, which features many popular Nintendo and other game characters brawling against each other in multiplayer fashion, is releasing on 3DS for October 3, and rumored to arrive on Wii U on November 21.

If overseas sales and recent demo downloads are any indication, the title could be a monster hit for the company. A sales report from Japan indicates that the 3Ds game alone has managed to surpass the one million sales mark in just two days’ time, accounting for both physical copies and digital downloads.

In addition, Nintendo surprised a few select Club Nintendo members over the past weekend with the debut of a playable demo for the game. The demand for it was so high that it flooded servers, forcing Nintendo to take down its virtual eShop temporarily in order to fix things up. Here’s hoping they’re at full strength when the demo releases for all customers on September 19.

Even with its sales woes and lack of third-party support, Nintendo expects to ride high on Christmas sales. Hyrule Warriors will debut on the Wii U on September 26, with Bayonetta 2 following closely behind on October 24. Then Smash will come, just in time for the holiday sales rush, and Nintendo will no doubt see sales for that title flourish on both platforms.

Now it’s just a matter of seeing if it can keep up this momentum – and maybe gain back its third-party partners – with a slew of new games set for 2015.

What do you think Is Smash enough to bring Nintendo back to form

Source: Gamespot

Twitch Debuts Its Services On Chromecast

Even before its acquisition by Amazon in a deal valued just under a billion dollars, Twitch has been working hard to get more exposure across various media types. This includes streaming on PC and mobile devices, as well as devoted apps and services for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Now, it’s reaching out to a new medium — Google’s Chromecast.

Google has announced that Twitch is now available through Chromecast, enabling those that own Chromecast devices can stream gaming videos across a phone, tablet, laptop or television with ease. Going for $35, Chromecast has become the go-to device for some users when it comes to pushing video from the Internet to a TV — and Twitch will no doubt add to that populkarity.

“We are often asked if Twitch will ever be available on TV. My response is, we already are. Our Xbox and PlayStation integrations make it a one-click process to watch Twitch on your big screen,” said vice president of marketing for Twitch, Matthew DiPietro. “Chromecast is the latest in a line of products and features that will make it easy to have a ‘living room’ Twitch experience. It’s been one of the most requested features from our community, so we’re excited to get it into the wild.”

The streaming service is said to work impeccably well on Chromecast devices, enabling users to find their favorite streaming superstars with one quick search, and even take part in chat sessions with fellow fans and the streamers themselves.

This is just the latest move for Twitch in what has been a pretty jam-packed year, between tournament announcements, partnerships with consoles and, of course, that blockbuster Amazon deal. And the company likely isn’t done yet, as it will introduce several new features that tie in with its acquisition, possibly leading to more advanced support.

So get excited, streaming fans, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Source: GamesIndustry International